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Friday, August 29, 2008

The Faith of America's Hottest VP Candidate

As surely everyone now knows, John McCain has now tapped Sarah Palin, a former beauty queen turned Governor of Alaska, as his running mate. Several publications have referred to Palin as "America's Hottest Governor."

For weeks, the Southern Baptist Convention's "Ethics" guru Dick Land has been pushing hard for McCain to pick Palin. Land described Palin to a CBS reporter as a "person of strong faith."

So what exactly is Governor Sarah Palin's "faith" ?

A thorough search of the internets didn't turn up many specific results. However, several bloggers have reported that Palin is a "regular attendee" of Church on the Rock in Wasilla, Alaska where Palin grew up and served as Mayor. According to this newsletter (HT: Dallas Morning News), we know that has a history with the Assemblies of God denomination. The newsletter mentions Palin's junior high pastor and current Alaska State Superintendent, Ted Boatsman, who once pastored Wasilla Assembly of God (belief statement here). The newsletter also mentions that when in Juneau Palin attends Juneau Christian Center, a Pentecostal congregation.

Here's some info on Church on the Rock in Wasilla where Palin supposedly attends when not in Juneau.

Church on the Rock is a rather new congregation. It began in January, 2000 with seven families. The church quickly outgrew their sanctuary which held 200 people and now holds two services on Sunday mornings. Read the history of Church on the Rock here. Their doctrinal statement can be found here. No mention of the Bible as inerrant. Their doctrine statement describes the Bible as "inspired by God, the Bible is truth without any mixture of error."

The senior pastor of Church on the Rock is a guy named David Pepper. However, Church on the Rock lists a female on staff as a "Pastor." Laurie Miller and her husband Chris Miller serve as "Equipping Pastors" at Church on the Rock.

And here's a bit about Palin on a few social issues:

According to the Boston Globe, Palin believes that abortion should be banned for any reason other than saving the life of the mother. She opposes stem cell research (I assume that means she opposes EMBRYONIC stem cell research). She opposes physician-assisted suicide. She opposes giving state health benefits for same-sex partners. And she supports a constitutional amendment to bar such benefits.

Here's where she gets a little kooky.

Palin believes that creationism should be discussed in public schools. Here's Palin from a couple of years ago:
Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides."
On Church-State issues:

When asked during a debate how she would feel if she walked into a church and heard a minister or pastor endorse a candidate for governor, Palin responded:
“A pastor, a priest, a rabbi, certainly they have the freedom to say whatever they want to say. And you know, thank the lord that we do have that freedom of speech....Faith is very important to so many of us here in America, and I would never support any government effort to stifle our freedom of religion or freedom of expression or freedom of speech...You know, I would just caution maybe a pastor to be very careful if they’re in front of a congregation and they decide to endorse one candidate over another. You know, there may be some frustration with that candidacy endorsement being made manifest by a few, fewer dollars in the offering plate, so I would just offer that bit of caution. (laughing.)...But, no, I’ll tell you, freedom of speech is so precious and it’s worth defending and of course freedom of religion and freedom of expression will be things that I will fight for.”
Religious Right leaders are already gushing over McCain's VP choice.

Here's Dick Land:
"Governor Palin is a vice-presidential selection which shows that John McCain at the age of 72 today is still able to think outside the box. Governor Palin will delight the Republican base. She is pro-life. It appears that Senator Obama played it safe in picking Senator Biden and Senator McCain made the bold and unconventional choice in picking Governor Palin."
I'm not an expert on the Presidency. But would Sarah Palin's selection as VP make her the first Pentecostal on a major party ticket?

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BDW, You make me wonder about what kind of faith you profess. You get scared of the wrong things, in MHO. mom2

5:05 PM

 
Blogger CharlieMac said...

Why is denomination affiliation important? Certainly as a Southern Baptist I was offended that the Clintons claimed the be Baptist. Several presidents have been Unitarian. How is that for a warm fuzzy Christian feeling?
Would you explain the difference in 'inerrant' and 'without any measure of error'? Are we picking at nits?
I for one feel that today I was given a reason to vote the Republican ticket other than a negative vote against the other party's choice.
Sarah Palin is a good choice and I think McCain made a brilliant move playing a trump card.
Charlie Mac

5:17 PM

 
Anonymous Alan Cross said...

Aaron,

AoG does strongly believe in inerrancy. They are far more literal and consistent in it than Baptists ever dreamed of being.

And yes, she is the first Pentecostal on a major ticket. John Ashcroft was AoG and it was a newsworthy item.

5:37 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Yeah, I think Alan is right. It's certainly never been a major issue with anyone but Ashcroft.

I can't believe you didn't note that, regardless of what happens, this is the first time in decades (except for a little blip in the 70's) that neither the president nor vice-president will be a Yalie!

9:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kooky? i did not see anything kooky except the usual self righteous nit picking

9:52 AM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Mom2,

Sometimes I wonder whether you actually read what I write before commenting.

My post here is pretty much a factual overview - based on what info immediately available - on the religious background of McCain's running mate. I didn't editorialize much in this post. I did, however, call Palin's belief that CREATIONISM should be taught in public schools KOOKY. Because, well, it is. I've yet to give my opinion on McCain's selection. Next time, read what I write before you comment.

Charlie Mac,

Bill Clinton does not merely claim to be a Baptist. He IS a Baptist. He might not be YOUR kind of Baptist but a Baptist he is nonetheless. Charlie, I'm pursuing a doctoral degree in Religion & Politics. The religious background and affiliations of politicians is just a wee bit of interest to me for obvious reasons. Religion often gives great insight into who a candidate really is. Faith is important, that's a no-brainer. The affiliations *MAY* help us understand said person's faith.

I noted the lack of explicit inerrancy language because many conservative churches in the internet age now prefer adjectives such as "inerrant" to describe the Bible over phrases such as "Truthout without any mixture of error" which can be open to various interpretations.

Alan,

I agree that AoG tends to be more consistent. However, the Church on the Rock which Palin supposedly attends in Wasilla is not Pentecostal. It may have a charasmatic feel to it but nothing in their doctrinal statement indicates that they are Pentecostal. The other two churches (the one in Juneau and the AoG in Wasilla from her younger days) mentioned are indeed Pentecostal. I read that James G. Watt who served as Secretary of the Interior under Reagan was also a Pentecostal.

TIA,

Oh you darn Yalies, the inferior Bulldogs!

12:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BDW, I have no problem with reading comprehension and your comment about Palin's support for Creationism being kooky is enough to make me wonder about your faith. It seems you are prouder of your political party than you are the authority of the God's Word. I am inclined to believe that you might vote for the Devil if he ran as a Democrat. mom2

12:36 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Mom2,

You're a classy gal that's fo sho.

And about as annoying as D.R. used to be...

Palin doesn't just "support" Creationism (per the creation accounts in the book of Genesis). I could care less how she interprets the creation accounts in Genesis. Palin believes that an interpretation of Genesis should be taught as science in a PUBLIC SCHOOL classroom. Big difference. Then again, you've never grasped the concepts of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. So, this conversation probably is a waste of my time.

9:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you've never grasped the concepts of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. So, this conversation probably is a waste of my time."

Probably the most telling statement you made.

1. The presence of a "Media Matters" widget on your blog and

2. The fact that you think allowing free speech in churches the way it was before Lyndon B. Johnson sneaked in an undebated rider on a tax bill to END it is "kooky" and

3. The fact that you seem to prefer to quell debate in taxpayer-funded schools to allow even criticism of the synthetic theory of evolution as "evolution" is formally known and allow creationism to be discussed and

4. The fact that you could entertain the notion that the apostasy practiced by Bill Clinton qualifies him to call himself a "Baptist" under ANY definition of that denomination and

...well, that's enough to tell me all I need to know about your theology.

10:26 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Yea, you got me figured out.

Move on now.

10:56 PM

 
Blogger Genece said...

I could be very wrong here but I've attended Church on the Rock for 3 years now and have never seen Sarah Palin or family there, yet there's many sources out there that say differently. And furthermore, Church on the Rock is a church with many faith styles represented. We are a non-denominational church but love our worship (and have some wonderful musicians to back up the 45 to 55 minutes we usually spend in worship time). We also love our hometown girl, Sarah, and are very proud of her. We are just elated with the news she was picked as VP candidate. She's the real deal -- as genuine as they come! I'm so thrilled the rest of America gets to meet her and see those same qualities.

1:24 AM

 
Anonymous Tom from Indiana said...

I think one of the major issues with McCain's selection is whether anyone would have given serious consideration to Palin had she announced last summer ('07) that she was going to run for POTUS. Clearly the criticisms of Obama for lack of experience are even heightened for her. (Somehow, Mayor of Wasilla, no matter how dear to Wasill-ians doesn't make her a shining example of what America needs on a national ticket.)

Further, to suggest that Creationism or Intelligent Design (most politicians no longer distinguish between the two) should be debated alongside Evolution in the science classroom is disingenuous... Clearly they appeal to different types of evidence. Would those who support this debate also support a debate in civics class over whether communism is superior to democracy, with the students being free to decide between those ideologies? Those who argue "Teach the debate..." only apply it to this one issue and would raise a ruckus if it were applied to anything else. (And everyone of you who support teaching Creationism in public schools knows it!!!)

Her concern for church and state issues seems to be more related to decreased offerings than to whether a tax-exempt non-profit should be able to advocate for a candidate. I'm not sure that is the most important reason to advocate a separation between church and state.

Palin surely shores up the conservative wing of the Republican party on issues, I'm not sure the same is true for her on experience. Why McCain thinks this will excite former Hillary Clinton supporters or undecided voters, I haven't got a clue.

10:41 AM

 
Anonymous dale said...

Palin is a great choice. The vogue pictue is NOT authentic. The fact that you used it shows your as unprofessional and tacky as the liberal media. Great job keeping unity in the faith.

3:55 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Unity in the Faith?

Does Unity in the Faith (whatever you mean by that) require one to vote Republican?

Dude, she posed for that Vogue cover THIS YEAR. I'm not the Tacky one.

You're a hoot.

10:09 PM

 
OpenID dunningrb said...

"Dude, she posed for that Vogue cover THIS YEAR. I'm not the Tacky one."

Palin did pose for Vogue, but the cover photo that's doing laps around the Internet is a fake. You didn't notice "TheKoKon.com" at the bottom of the image? It's a reference to "Kodiak Konfidential," the blog where the image originally appeared:

http://kodiakkonfidential.blogspot.com/2007/12/sarah-in-vogue.html

See this also:

http://kodiakkonfidential.blogspot.com/2008/08/if-i-had-dime-every-time.html

The real Vogue photos are here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/29/sarah-palin-mccains-vp-pi_n_122389.html

1:51 AM

 
Blogger CharlieMac said...

BDW,
I am still waiting for a definative explaination in the differences in "inerrant" and "truth without any mixture of error".
A politician's affiliation with a certain denomination actually may, or may not, give us insight into their faith. Many use the affiliation for political gain only. Their actions both in public and in private life give us much more insight into who they really are. Thus I stand offended by BC's Baptist claim, yea even their, 'Christian' claim because of how I percieve they live. (Not saying I am perfect either!)
More power to you in your pursuit of a doctronal degree and I hope you interest in a politician's religious affiliation remains 'wee'. I equally hope that your interest in what they say, DO, and act grows as you near your goal.
"Bless your heart" as they say down here in the deepsouth.
Charlie Mac

9:37 AM

 
Anonymous dale said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:55 PM

 
Blogger Georgia Mountain Man said...

"Creationism" or "intelligent design" should be taught in church. SCIENCE should be taught in school. 'nuff said.

5:15 AM

 

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